When it comes to continuing the growth of Birmingham's emerging tech sector, industry insiders say boosting the city's national exposure will also increase the availability of venture capital funding for Birmingham companies.
But influential members of the local tech scene say Birmingham's lack of nonstop flights to venture capital-rich places like the West Coast and Boston poses a huge challenge for local companies and their capital efforts.
According to a study from the Martin Prosperity Institute that examined venture capital investment trends by city, companies operating along an expanse of the West Coast that stretches from San Diego to Seattle received $12.7 billion in VC funding during 2012, which accounted for nearly 50 percent of the national total.
And according to Findthebest.com, some of the nation's largest venture capital firms are clustered around those same areas.
But Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport doesn't offer nonstop flights to any of the major cities within those areas, such as San Francisco, San Jose or Los Angeles.
That has proven to be a challenge for local tech executives looking to expand their businesses.
"The short answer to the problem of limited outgoing flight options in Birmingham is 'time is money,' which makes indirect flights much more expensive for busy executives than direct flights," said Tanveer Patel, president of the Birmingham Venture Club and CEO of ConcertCare.